Virgin Voyages has announced its intention to build its own dedicated cruise terminal at PortMiami, while simultaneously announcing that sales for cruises on its first ship Scarlet Lady will open on Valentine’s Day (February 14th, 2019).
The new terminal is scheduled to be completed by 2021, while Scarlet Lady will be delivered in 2020. During her inaugural Caribbean cruise season, sailing round-trip from Miami, she will use the port’s Terminal F.
Virgin Voyages’ is the latest cruise line to develop its own homeport cruise terminal in Miami. Royal Caribbean recently launched its new Terminal A, while Disney Cruise Line is in the process of developing a terminal for three ships.
Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises are also opening their own terminals, while Carnival Cruise Line has selected Port Canaveral for its new mega ship cruise terminal.
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Virgin Voyages’ new 100,000 square-foot terminal in PortMiami will be designed by Miami-based firm Arquitectonica specifically for Virgin Voyages ships. It will be called Palm Grove and will feature an eclectic aesthetic intended to put passengers in vacation mode as soon as they step through the door.
“Miami is an incredible city and one of my favourite places to work and play,” said Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group. “From our headquarters for Hotels, Voyages and now Trains USA, South Florida has quickly become another home for Virgin brands in the leisure travel sector.”
Virgin Voyages aims to achieve a LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council with its new terminal, which is still subject to approval from local authorities.
Virgin Voyages’ has been keen to emphasise its overall commitment to sustainability since the brand was launched. Its ships will be equipped with scrubbing technology designed to reduce sulphur emissions, and no single-use plastics will be used on-board.
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Located on the north side of PortMiami, overlooking Biscayne Bay, with the Miami skyline in the background, Palm Grove, as its name suggests, takes its design inspiration from the palm tree, and its ceiling is designed to mimic a grove of the tropical fronds.
“The two-story storm-proof glass facility will be replete with lush landscaping giving the terminal a plaza-like feel with designated areas for VIP drop-offs, as well as ride-sharing and provisioning — all designed to provide a seamless shore to ship experience,” Virgin Voyages said in a release.
In addition to revealing the new terminal plans, Virgin Voyages also announced that its first ship Scarlet Lady will continue to sail roundtrip from Miami to the Caribbean through 2021.
Only the ship’s inaugural cruise season had been confirmed until now, which includes cruises to Cuba.
Virgin Voyages’ CEO, Tom McAlpin, also confirmed that the line’s second ship will cruise seasonally out of Miami, though he didn’t elaborate on which ports she’ll visit, or how long the season will be.
During the press conference it was also announced that bookings for Scarlet Lady’s first cruise season will open on Valentine’s Day (February 14th, 2019).
The 2,750-passenger ship blends the innovative design elements of AIDA Cruises’ AIDAnova and MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside and will feature a ‘Vitamin Sea’ concept that focuses on passenger wellness, relaxation and fun.
Public spaces will include a tattoo studio, outdoor fitness centre and extensive spa facilities.
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